During February, Belvedere House and Gardens near Mullingar hosted ‘Through Art Only’, a highly successful collaborative exhibition which showcased the abilities of artists from Meath, Westmeath, Longford and Belgium, some of them with intellectual disabilities. Luck Van Erwegen organised the exhibition, which was opened on 10 February by Catherine Kelly, County Westmeath Arts Officer, whose office had provided part-funding for the event. The launch ceremonies, which included a celebration of international music and dance, were attended by His Excellency Wilfried Geens (the Belgian ambassador), Frank McDermott (Chairman of the Westmeath County Council), all the artists, performers and families and friends.
The idea for the exhibition was born some two years ago when Luck Van Erwegen visited a multimedia arts centre for people with disabilities in Liege. During her preparations for the exhibition, she was assisted by three fellow Belgians: Annelien d’Hoine and Mario van Roy prepared the exhibition catalogue and presentation, and music therapist Bart Van Aken organised a memorable performance with participating people with disabilities.
The exhibition proved the correctness of Luck’s belief that ‘if we get the right support and positive leadership, we can reach our full potential.’ And, as Catherine Kelly said in her opening speech: ‘This exhibition represents a forward-looking acknowledgement that networks, connections and associations—both national and international—can be the vital sinews that give us the strength to achieve our goals, regardless of our background or physical abilities, and enables all artists to become equals through the creative power that they innately possess.’